Prevent infestation with Termites

termites isoptera prevent infestation with

Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite infestation. Subterranean termites build their colonies within soil beneath or around a structure, and emerge to feed on wood and other cellulose material. When it comes to gaining access to your house, keep in mind that termites are amazingly proficient and the action of termite control actually need to be done in two step: preventing them from entering your house and treating any know colonies already existent around your house.
The exterior of your house can act as an entrance way for termites, as broken tiles create moisture that attracts the pests and also offers them a way into your house. A prime location can be the attic, where termites can go unnoticed for years, but other areas of your house can also provide the necessary food for them. Cardboard boxes filled with paper and photos are a good source of food for termites, so better store your things in plastic containers. The garden is also a place where termites can thrive, so a thorough inspection from time to time in your whole home and garden is the first and most important preventive step that can be taken.

termites isoptera prevent infestation with

Check regularly for termite damage by pressing thumb against the timber to check if it feels spongy. Small holes in wood, crumbling drywall, sagging doors or floors, insect wings and small shelter tubes are some of the more obvious signs of a potential infestation of termites. But even if you don’t notice any of these signs, that doesn’t necessarily mean termites, or the conditions that invite them, aren’t there. Termites are one of the biggest contributors to home destruction, costing a staggering $1 billion in damages each year, so protecting you house from them is quite important. Keep in mind that a termite colony consists of anywhere from 350,000 to well over a million workers, soldiers, and swarmers. A single termite queen can lay thousands of eggs per day and live between 30 and 50 years. That means a queen can recoup her losses and repopulate her colony even after tremendous devastation, rendering extermination efforts ineffective. The best way to fight this constantly replenishing foe is to prevent them from ever entering your home in the first place.

Preventive methods to avoid the risk of termite infestation

  • Don’t affix wooden trellises to exterior walls;
  • Keep mulch, wood debris, scrap lumber, sawdust and firewood away from your home. If you do keep firewood outside your house during the winter, keep it raised and off the ground;
  • Don’t stack, store or bury wood debris adjacent to your home;
  • Trim all shrubs, bushes and other dense greenery away from the foundation of your home. Move mulch away from the foundation as well;
  • Remove infested trees and stumps;
  • Repair leaking faucets and water lines, both indoors and outdoors;
  • Fix leaky roofs and gutters;
  • Don’t allow leaves to accumulate in gutters and drains;
  • Grade soil so that water (including air-conditioning condensation) runs away from foundations;
  • Ventilate crawl spaces and attics to reduce humidity;
  • Remove all wood to soil contact;
  • Cover at least 90% of the soil in crawl spaces with plastic sheeting;
  • Ideally, wood siding, stucco and foam board should be at least six inches away from the ground;
  • Seal all cracks and holes in your home’s foundation, which may provide a handy access point for termites.

As most termites are subterranean, they will build underground colonies that lead to above food sources like the wood in your yard. Make a habit of clearing fallen branches or decaying twigs and plants before things they get submerged in the soil. Roots from plants that have died should also be removed from underground. Also mulch provides a good food source for termites, so the way you water your lawn or irrigate your garden is also important.

When it comes to building materials, the way they are stored is very important. As wood is a basic building material, it is very inviting to termites. If your property is not large enough to allow you to store wood at a large distance from the house, create barriers underneath the wood, that will prevent termites form reaching it. The wood can be raised from the ground with thick concrete slabs or metal stands. You also need to treat the wood you use in your building structures. Especially the one that has direct contact to the ground. This way you will avoid a direct infestation, as the chemical used in the treatment of the wood will act as a repellent for termites.
Taking care of the water sources from your yard is also important, as a colony of termites will develop if they have a close enough water source. The colony will grow as the termites will have a food and water source in the same place, and it will become more difficult to get rid of it this way. Remove and standing water, repair pipes that have leaks and make sure water does not pool around the foundation of your home or on your roof. Remove dense vegetation from around your house, as this also creates intense moisture, which attracts termites.

Inside your house, keep furniture away from walls or opt for items made of of metal rather than wood, as furniture can also become very attractive to termites. Even clothes made out of cotton can attract these pests, as cotton contains cellulose. It is better to keep your clothes off of the floor and away from walls. In the kitchen, make sure you have no leaky pipes and that a constant level of sanitation is maintained and make sure you keep windows and doors shut, especially during swarming season.
Get your home inspected for termite damage. A once-a-year inspection can save your home with early detection. Even when termites are not found in the home, you can still apply these preventive measures, just to be sure you are safe from such an infestation. If you’re building a new home make sure to consider getting your house pre-treated for termite prevention. It’s much easier to set a termite barrier with termiticide before you begin construction, by creating the barrier on the land where the house will be. This liquid pesticide is generally applied around the foundation of the house, as well as underneath the foundation. For new construction sites, the termiticide is applied to the graded soil as the home is being built, but for existing buildings, the foundation is partially dug out and drilled to ensure proper coverage.

Proactive measures can help in avoiding a termite infestation, but should you already face such an issue, the best way is to apply the methods presented in our article about ‘How to get rid of a termite infestation‘, as you will find there details about the natural and chemical deterring methods that can be applied.

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